A Planet Fitness Review: A 3 Year Member

I joined a planet fitness about two years ago. My father joined one just a few months ago. He had some good things to say about it and some bad things to say about it. Not all gyms are created equal but I would like to share my thoughts with you so you can decide if Planet Fitness is a good fit for you.

Does Planet Fitness Have Free Weights?

Limited Free Weights

One of the biggest concerns I hear about Planet Fitness is about what kind of equipment they have. I’ve belonged to many of gyms and I can tell you for certain that Planet Fitness is primarily a cardio and machine gym. They do have free weights, but a majority of the gyms don’t offer as many free weights as a conventional gym. Additionally, they don’t offer dumbbells over 80 pounds.

The bench press, incline press, squat racks and other free weight you would find a most big name gyms won’t be found at Planet Fitness. And Planet Fitness doesn’t care about having all these free weight. Their goal is to keep prices down and to tailor their gym to a certain clientele. And that clientele isn’t the bodybuilders you might see at your local gym. Planet Fitness does have dumbbells and a few benches where you can do chest exercises, but you won’t find barbells.

The Planet Fitness I belong to has dumbbells up to 75 lbs. And they only have duplicate dumbbells of the lower weights (5-40lbs). Past 40 pounds and there is only one set of dumbbells. But anytime I do go to Planet Fitness, I find that not many people use the dumbbells anyways.

Is Planet Fitness Clean?

It’s been my experience that Planet Fitness takes a lot of pride in keeping their facilities clean.  The Planet Fitness that I belong to has several cleaning stations spread throughout the facility. This makes it convenient and easy to wipe down any machines after you use them.

Planet Fitness Review

It can be frustrating when you have to walk across a gym to get cleaning supplies, so having multiple is a plus. Gym users are less likely to use cleaning supplies if they have to walk across the gym to get them. It’s best to have them along the walls and centrally placed for ease of use, and Planet Fitness understands this.

When Is The Best Time To Go To Planet Fitness?

The busy times at Planet Fitness are going to be similar to most other gyms. There will be the people that like to do their morning workouts, or morning classes, so you can expect an increase in people starting at 7am -9am. And then again after work from about 5pm-7pm. Lunch time is also a popular time for people to get to the gym. So, for working folks, the best time to use a Planet Fitness will be early morning or later in the evening. If you have the freedom to get to the gym from 9am-11am or from 2pm-5pm you’ll be able to avoid a lot of the crowds.

Is a Planet Fitness Membership Worth It?

I have a unique situation that I can belong to several different gyms for one low price. I get it through my work. I even get the Black Card membership that offers some other benefits that I’ll speak to a little later. But for the low price of about $10/month, I think it’s totally worth it.

The Black Card is about an additional $10/month, so a total of $20 to include all the perks of the Black Card membership. The facilities are clean, you have access to showers, a ton of machines, and most have a HIIT room that you can use (see picture below). The other positive, is there are a ton of them, so finding one close to where you live or where you work is a benefit.

Planet Fitness Equipment

I’ve noticed that if a gym is too far away or adds a bunch of driving time to your day, you’re less likely to use it. So, in my opinion, a Planet Fitness membership is totally worth it.

Total Body Enhancement Review: Red Light Therapy

So, I was very skeptical about using this machine. For those that don’t know, the total body enhancement machine at Planet Fitness is said to use light therapy to help with clearer skin and a vibration platform (Do Weight Loss Vibrating Platforms Work) to help with cellulite reduction. I feel like that might be an over simplification, but it’s not wrong.

Anyway, I finally tried it out and wasn’t exactly impressed. To use it, you enclose yourself in the machine turn on the vibrating platform, hold on to the grips attached on the ceiling and just stand there. The buttons are a bit confusing, the lights do increase the temperature a bit, so there are fans, but I’m not sure if I used it correctly. I pushed multiple buttons, and only managed to increase the fan speed and the vibrating platform speed. I’m not sure if there are any other instruments I should be adjusting.

I’ve seen vibrating platforms at gym and I strongly believe that you need to exert yourself if you want to lose bodyfat. Standing on a vibrating platform does nothing for me. So in that aspect I say it’s a fail. The light therapy, I’m still on the fence. There is evidence that red-light therapy is beneficial to you, so after just one session I can’t really give a first hand account of how beneficial it was. If the research is correct, then red-light therapy is great for your skin and I imagine, over time you’ll realize some benefits.

Is Planet Fitness Black Card Worth It?

As I mentioned above, I don’t really pay for the Black Card membership, it just comes with the plan that I get through my employer. There are some nice benefits that come with it though. Access to the total body enhancement machines, the tanning machines, use of massage chairs, discounts on drinks, and some guest privileges.

If the Black Card didn’t come with my membership via my employer, I wouldn’t be too disappointed. I’ve only tried the total body enhancement a couple of times, I don’t use the tanning machines, and I prefer a good foam roller to the massage chairs. You usually have to sign up for these machines, and I don’t really want to be at the mercy of the schedule, so I don’t use all the perks the Black Card offers.

I feel like one of the most beneficial uses of the Black Card is being able to use a Planet Fitness in other cities. When I travel for work, I like being able to use an actual gym instead of a crappy hotel gym. This is a big perk for me.

The second perk that I do use is the bring a guest perk. If you have a significant other or a person that you would like to work out with, it’s easy to give them access to the gym. All they have to do is download the planet fitness app and input some basic information. Then you just give them permission and they can go with you as much as you want. It’s basically a free membership for them.

Does Planet Fitness Have Daycare?

The Planet Fitness that I use doesn’t have day care. With rates as low as $10/month it would be difficult to make that kind of accommodation. Their website says they don’t offer these services, so it’s not surprising to me.  As a matter of fact, they don’t let kids under the age of 13 to use their facilities.

Culture of Planet Fitness

So you’ve probably heard that Planet Fitness is considered a no judgement facility. What they mean by this is, Planet Fitness encourages all people no matter what there level of fitness is, to use their facilities. It’s no surprise that some people are uncomfortable about joining a gym. They fear that they will make a fool of themselves, or worse yet, injure themselves because they don’t know how to use the machines or are too weak.

The Planet Fitness that I go to, is mainly working class adults who are trying to maintain a certain level of fitness. It’s very likely that a good portion of their clientele are beginners and are not looking to be on the cover of a magazine. There’s no snickering or competition between people. Everybody is very encouraging and the staff is more than willing to assist or show you how to use the machines.

And the culture of Planet Fitness is one of the big things my father noticed. Not so much the level of fitness the people had, but how quiet and self-contained people were. He said in the few times that he had been, there wasn’t much talking or socializing. He seemed shocked by this. I explained to him that it’s not uncommon for people to just put on their headphones and power through their workouts without much socializing.

I continued telling him that over socializing can actually be a bad thing. It’s a common complaint that people just sit on the machines and talk to each other, without using the machines. If other gym users are anxious to use the same machine, they can get frustrated.

People are on schedules and they want to get in, do their workout, and get out of the gym. They usually don’t want to be interrupted so they slap on some headphones (common tactic of gym users signaling to leave them alone) and power through their workout. My father, who is retired, doesn’t have the same time constraints that some of the others have, and is very social, kind of frowned upon all of this. But he understood the reasoning.

Does Planet Fitness Have Personal Trainers?

As a former personal trainer, it didn’t occur to me to ask if they had them. When I got my membership, they did have a trainer show me around, and explained that they do offer some small group fitness.

Limited Personal Trainers

They don’t have personal trainers in the traditional sense that you can pay someone to train you 1 on 1 at the gym. Their website says they will set up a workout plan for you, which is a great start for beginners, but outside of that, the personal training is limited.

What Are The Locker Rooms Like?

The showers and the locker rooms are pretty standard. I’ve only been to a couple of the Planet Fitness facilities in my city and they both offer the same shower and locker rooms. The showers are individual with soap and plenty of water pressure.

Planet Fitness Locker rooms

The locker rooms are similar to your high school lockers. They can be kind of small along with the benches, but they serve their purpose. As I mentioned before, the entire facility is clean and this includes the locker rooms. This could vary from place to place, but this has been my experience.

Conclusion of Planet Fitness Review

A gym membership for $10 (or $20 for Black Card) is well worth it for the average Joe or Jan. If you’re looking to be on the cover of a magazine or on stage, then Planet Fitness probably isn’t a good fit. But if you like access to a ton of machines and cardio equipment (Can You Do Cardio Twice A Day) along with some dumbbells, you probably can’t beat it.

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